The 101 Most Inspirational Basketball Quotes


Since its invention in 1891, basketball has become one of the most popular sports in the world. Even though you can quickly acquire the basic skills to play basketball, becoming a truly skilled player takes a lot of exercise and dedication. Therefore, having the right motivation is a key ingredient to continuously keep improving your basketball skills. But sometimes, the going can get really tough. When you are struggling to reach the next level, it can be quite helpful to have some motivating basketball quotes at hand. These quotes will inspire you to keep pushing your limits. They will encourage you to train harder and to never give up on your dreams. No matter how painful it gets, these basketball quotes will help you to always keep going.

Basketball quotes are a fantastic way to boost your own and your teammates’ motivation. No matter if you’re an athlete seeking to improve your game or a coach looking for some inspiration for your team, basketball quotes will always get the job done.

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

What differentiates successful basketball players from all the others is their unquenchable inner drive to succeed.

Basketball quotes

The following basketball quotes will help you to push beyond your limits.

Their passion for the game helps them to train harder, with more intensity and excellence than 99.9% of the rest. That’s what makes them so successful. By learning from these exceptional players, you can draw a lot of inspiration and motivation for your own life. To help you do so, we’ve created an inspiring collection of basketball quotes in the following.

The 101 Most Inspirational Basketball Quotes

The following basketball quotes will help you to ignite within you the unquenchable desire to become a successful basketball player. They will motivate you to overcome all the obstacles that prevent you from reaching the next level. Even more so, these motivating basketball quotes will help you to develop the inner drive that is necessary to succeed.

Here are these motivating and inspiring basketball quotes


“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
Michael Jordan

Basketball quotes


“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
Kevin Durant

Basketball quotes


“No matter how hard you work at your craft and no matter how successful you become, people just have to find something negative to hang on you. […] The bar is always being raised as you go. The rules are always being rewritten. There’s aggravation that comes with that, but that’s part of what makes triumph so sweet.”
Charles Barkley

Basketball quotes


“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”
Larry Bird

Basketball quotes


“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.”
Michael Jordan

Basketball quotes


“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.”
Shaquille O’Neal

Excellence is not a singular act quote


“I gave everything I had to basketball. The passion is still there, but the desire to play is not. It was a great ride.”
Allen Iverson

I gave everything I had to basketball quote


“There’s a great quote by Julius Irving that went, ‘Being a professional is doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them.'”
David Halberstam

Doing the things you love when you don't feel like doing them quote


“Nothing is given. Everything is earned.”
LeBron James

Nothing is given everything is earned quote


“What do you do with a mistake: recognize it, admit it, learn from it, forget it.”
Dean Smith

What you do with a mistake quote


“Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.”
Bill Russell

Bill Russell quote about concentration and mental toughness


“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan basketball quote on talent


“Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat.”
Dean Smith

Basketball is a beautiful game quote


“How good can we expect to be if our best player is not our best teammate.”
Brad Stevens

How good can you expect to be quote


“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan basketball quote about obstacles


“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”
John Wooden

Ability may get you to the top


“Leadership is diving for a loose ball. It’s about being able to take it as well as dish it out. That’s the only way your going to get respect from other players”
Larry Bird


“You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.”
Michael Jordan

You must expect great things


“Good players want to be coached… Great players want to be told the truth.”
Doc Rivers

Good players want to be coached


“Recognize and reward players who put the team first, not just the gifted ones.”
Don Meyer


“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

I've failed over and over


“Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
Tim Duncan


“To inspire the players, I adapted a quote from Walt Whitman and taped it on their lockers before the first game of the playoffs, against the Miami Heat. ‘Henceforth we seek not good fortune, we are ourselves good fortune’.”
Phil Jackson


“If you quit ONCE it becomes a habit. Never quit!”
Michael Jordan

If you quit once


“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”
Phil Jackson


“It takes three things to be a ‘special’ player: talent, character, and competitive fire.”
Kevin Eastman

Three things to be a special player


“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
John Wooden


“But that’s the thing about basketball: you don’t play games on paper.”
Bill Simmons

The thing about basketball


“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”
John Wooden


“Remember that basketball is a game of habits. If you make the other guy deviate from his habits, you’ve got him.”
Bill Russell


“Me shooting 40% at the foul line is just God’s way of saying nobody’s perfect.”
Shaquille O’Neal

Nobody's perfect


“My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”
Michael Jordan


“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
John Wooden

Your reputation


“Practice habits were crucial to my development in basketball. I didn’t play against the toughest competition in high school, but one reason I was able to do well in college was that I mastered the fundamentals. You’ve got to have them down before you can even think about playing.”
Larry Bird


“Sometimes a player’s greatest challenge is coming to grips with his role on the team.”
Scottie Pippen

His role on the team


“Something just doesn’t pop under your nose; you have to work for it.”
LeBron James


“Put great thought to what and how you practice. Once practice is done you can never get that time back. Did you simulate the game?”
Kevin Eastman

How would you practice


“The key is not the ‘will to win’… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”
Bob Knight


“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.”
Michael Jordan

Basketball quote


“I think the reason why I’m the person who I am today is because I went through those tough times when I was younger.”
LeBron James


“There’s only one thing we can control, and that is how hard we play.”
Don Meyer

How hard we play


“The idea is not to block every shot. The idea is to make your opponent believe that you might block every shot.”
Bill Russell


“When you think you have done enough, do a little more, because someone out there is working harder than you.”
Larry Bird

When you think you've done enough


“I’m playing; I’m here. I’m going to fight until they tell me they don’t want me anymore.”
Steve Nash


“In order to achieve positive results, one must work for them, not hope for them.”
Bob Knight

Achieve positive results


“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”
John Wooden


“Everybody has talent, but ability takes hard work.”
Michael Jordan

Everybody has talent


“Most of us spend the bulk of our time caught up in thoughts of the past or the future — which can be dangerous if your job is winning basketball games. Basketball takes place at such a lightning pace that it’s easy to make mistakes and get obsessed with what just happened or what might happen next, which distracts you from the only thing that really matters — this very moment.”
Phil Jackson


“The key to success is failure”
Michael Jordan

The key to success


“I’m chasing perfection.”
Kobe Bryant”


“I don’t know if I practiced more than anybody, but I sure practiced enough. I still wonder if somebody – somewhere – was practicing more than me.”
Larry Bird


“Approach the game with no preset agendas and you’ll probably come away surprised at your overall efforts.”
Phil Jackson


“Some times your best effort just isn’t good enough.”
LeBron James

Your best effort


“I’ve never lost a game I just ran out of time.”
Michael Jordan


“I have self-doubt. I have insecurity. I have fear of failure. I have nights when I show up at the arena and I’m like, ‘My back hurts, my feet hurt, my knees hurt. I don’t have it. I just want to chill.’ We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.”
Kobe Bryant


“Never say never, because limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
Michael Jordan

Never say never


“The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome. The ride is a lot more fun that way.”
Phil Jackson


“If every basketball player worked as hard as I did, I’d be out of a job.”
Steve Nash

Every basketball player


“You don’t need great skill to be a tough rebounder; being a rebounder is all about effort, determination, and physicality.”
Mike Malone


“The basketball court for me, during a game, is the most peaceful place I can imagine. On the basketball court, I worry about nothing. When I’m out there, no one can bother me…”
Michael Jordan


“The goal is to make practice more difficult, physically/mentally, than anything your players will face during a game.”
Bob Knight

Make practice difficult


“If all I’m remembered for is being a good basketball player, then I’ve done a bad job with the rest of my life.”
Isiah Thomas


“Your best player has to set a tone of intolerance for anything that gets in the way of winning.”
Jeff Van Gundy

Your best player


“As a leader, your job is to do everything in your power to create the perfect conditions for success by benching your ego and inspiring your team to play the game the right way. But at some point, you need to let go and turn yourself over to the basketball gods. The soul of success is surrendering to what is.”
Phil Jackson


“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
John Wooden

What you can do


“Push yourself again and again. Don’t give an inch until the final buzzer sounds.”
Larry Bird


“I look at my jersey and see the NBA logo, I’m like, ‘I didn’t think I’d be here.’„
Kevin Durant


“The day I stopped worrying about stats is the day I started winning.”
Shaquille O’Neal

The day I stopped worrying


“There is no “I”in team but there is in win.”
Michael Jordan


“The important thing is that your teammates have to know you’re pulling for them and you really want them to be successful.”
Kobe Bryant


“Discipline is doing what has to be done, when it has to be done, as well as it can be done, and doing it that way all the time.”
Bob Knight


“Limits, like fears, are often just an illusion.”
Michael Jordan


“One man can be a crucial ingredient on a team, but one man cannot make a team.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

A crucial ingredient


“I’ve always been impressed by Kobe’s resilience and ironclad self-confidence. Unlike Shaq, who was often plagued by self-doubt, Kobe never let such thoughts cross his mind. If someone set the bar at ten feet, he’d jump eleven, even if no one had ever done it before. That’s the attitude he brought with him when he arrived at training camp that fall, and it had a powerful impact on his teammates.”
Phil Jackson


“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
John Wooden


“If you do the work you get rewarded. There are no shortcuts in life.”
Michael Jordan


“People just don’t understand how obsessed I am with winning.”
Kobe Bryant

How obsessed I am with winning


“Great players are willing to give up their own personal achievement for the achievement of the group. It enhances everybody.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


“That’s why at the start of every season I always encouraged players to focus on the journey rather than the goal. What matters most is playing the game the right way and having the courage to grow, as human beings as well as basketball players. When you do that, the ring takes care of itself.”
Phil Jackson


“Coaches shouldn’t have to push you to work hard, you should push yourself to work hard because you want to be a great player.”
Bob Knight


“I always wanted to be a basketball player. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Dirk Nowitzki

Always wanted to be a basketball player


“You cant win unless you learn how to lose.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar


“Good thing in this business is that you just have to make one big shot and that’s enough to make you forget 9 other shots that you missed.”
Guy Zucker


“Goals determine what you’re going to be.”
Julius Erving

Julius Irving quote


“Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”
Michael Jordan


“Everything is habit forming, so make sure what you do is what you want to be doing.”
Wilt Chamberlain


“Failure is acceptable. but not trying is a whole different ball park.”
Michael Jordan


“A lot of late nights in the gym, a lot of early mornings, especially when your friends are going out, you’re going to the gym, those are the sacrifices that you have to make if you want to be an NBA basketball player.”
Jason Kidd


“Everyting negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.”
Kobe Bryant


“I love seeing my teammates succeed. That’s what I get more excited about than anything.”
LeBron James


“It’s OK to make mistakes. That’s how we learn. When we compete, we make mistakes.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

It's okay to make mistakes


“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
John Wooden


“We old athletes carry the disfigurements and markings of contests remembered only by us and no one else. Nothing is more lost than a forgotten game.”
Pat Conroy


“They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.”
Wilt Chamberlain


“The most important measure of how good a game I played was how much better I’d made my teammates play.”
Bill Russell


“What is love? Love is playing every game as if it’s your last!”
Michael Jordan


“Everything is habit forming, so make sure what you do is what you want to be doing.”
Wilt Chamberlain


“The only difference between a good shot and a bad shot is if it goes in or not”
Charles Barkley


“I’m here. I’m not going anywhere. No matter what the injury – unless it’s completely debilitating – I’m going to be the same player I’ve always been. I’ll figure it out. I’ll make some tweaks, some changes, but I’m still coming.”
Kobe Bryant


“Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.”
John Wooden


“To learn to succeed, you must first learn to fail.”
Michael Jordan

Learn to fail

I hope you enjoyed this collection of inspiring basketball quotes.

Stay victorious!


About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty. Join us in the quest to live life to the fullest!


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